May 24, 2011
CBF: Government Needs to Assess Risk to Human Health from Steel Plant Pollution in Bear Creek
Port study lends credibility to CBF's call for a risk assessment in areas where people live, swim, fish, and crab
(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Kim Coble, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), issued this statement today following the release of the Maryland Port Administration report detailing risks to human and ecological health at the Sparrows Point steel plant:
"As we said when we sued Severstal and the plant's previous owners, pollution has flowed off the site for decades, and it is essential that assessments are conducted to determine the risks to human health and the environment. The Port study serves to elevate that concern. People with prolonged exposure to the water near the Coke Point section of the steel plant could have an elevated risk of cancer. But what's perhaps more troubling is the still unanswered question of health risks from plant pollution in Bear Creek, closer to where people actually live and use the water.
"We applaud the Maryland Port Administration for undertaking this scientifically rigorous analysis in the Coke Point area. But that is only one offshore area of the plant. Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of Environment should require the current and former owners of the plant to conduct a similar study in Bear Creek."